Spanish patrol vessel saves ship from hijacking

Spanish Navy's Santa Maria (F81) frigate. Credit: Arkhip Vereshchagin/TASS/PA images

The Spanish Navy ship OPV Serviola, rescued the crew of a Nigerian-flagged merchant ship that were being held hostage by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, reported the ministry of defence.

The Spanish Navy ship had been carrying out security operations in the area and detected strange movements and odd behaviour from the merchant ship. Calls to the ship were left unanswered and when the Serviola approached the vessel, the nine pirates on board were scared off and abandoned ship.

The Nigerian-flagged ship then informed the Spanish marines on board the Serviola that they had been hijacked for four days. The crew had been threatened with AK-47 rifles and grenade launchers and so could not transmit messages through the automatic identification system.

The pirates also took the ships’ provisions and valuables before leaving, the Spanish marines provided the crew with enough provisions for the merchant vessel to head towards the nearest port, Lagos.